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Convert all my 35mm slides to DVD - best way ?

Photo Color , Jun 09, 2005; 07:35 a.m.

I have about 400 35mm color slides, and I'd like to have them scanned commercially, or do it personally (depending on quality and cost), and saved to DVD, so that eventually I'll copy them to the new High Def DVDs coming out in the future, for the end purpose of showing my pictures on High Def Televisions, or projecting them with digital projectors, and getting rid of my slide projector.

I'm concerned about maintaining enough quality so that all the quality that digital projectors or HD TVs can show, in say the next 10-20 years, will be captured.

Does anyone know of specific commercial labs that will do this? Does anyone have an idea if it would cost a fortune and perhaps I should buy a high quality scanner and do them myself?

Thank you. Dan


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Alexandru Petrescu , Jun 09, 2005; 07:57 a.m.

Dan, I'm doing that for myself (scan 35mm to DVD).

I see DVD as two different matters. One is as a temporary support (3-5 years) for the scan outputs, readable with a PC. Another matter is an even more ephemeral "production" DVD that I distribute to people that watch it as a show on TV. The "support" DVDs hold only about 12 slides and the "production" DVD can hold much more, with proper sequencing, music and show.

As such, HDTV being high quality or low quality is a separated issue. Whatever HDTV and projector claim as resolution today it is very far from common slide resolving power and black color. HDTV and digital projector will not reach the high quality of projecting a color slide with a light source soon. But, in the near future (10-20 years you mention) one would be able to copy the files from the "support" DVD and make "production" DVDs that will have more capacity at that time and potentially projected through more advanced digital projectors.

My two cents worth.

John Watson , Jun 09, 2005; 09:08 a.m.

I used DIGMYPICS.COM and was pleased with their quality, pricing and service. good luck

John Kelly , Jun 09, 2005; 09:32 a.m.

My Nikon scanner requires about 2.5 minutes for the scan itself, but handling and previews take another couple of minutes...so 400 slides might reasonably require sixty hours, hunched over the computer.

Robert Lee , Jun 09, 2005; 11:59 a.m.

You might be better served if you change the definition of your end goal slightly. Digitize the slides to high enough quality so that essentially all potential spatial and tonality information is preserved. Keep these scans as your digital negatives; sample them down appropriately for presentation and distribution purposes.

The rationale is that 35mm film will have 14MP to 20MP worth of information. The highest HDTV resolution now, 1920x1080 I think, is only about 2MP. So, you're throwing away lots of resolution if you baseline at HDTV resolutions.

I went through the same exercise recently. I wanted to digitially archive thousands of family snapshots, taken over decades. I ended scanning with a Nikon LS5000 at 4000dpi and 16bit deep. Each scan, at about 130MB should have pretty much captured all that was on the negatives.

JP and AP the glass eye , Jun 09, 2005; 02:07 p.m.

John Watson

Digmypics.com How was their quality? What resolution did you order? Slides? Negatives? What films?

Photo Color , Jun 12, 2005; 01:42 a.m.

Thanks to everyone for their answers. I'm going to check out the suggested website. So, for the current quality of HDTV being about 2mp, I guess for future shooting I could get away with just a 2-4mp camera (but high quality in terms of lack of noise etc.) ??

Kelly Flanigan , Jun 12, 2005; 01:48 a.m.

What is interesting with 4x5 tranys; is that I get about 2 to 3 on a CD; thus the volume of the CD's exceeds the volume of the tranys.One is basically just halting the color degradation.

Robert Lee , Jun 12, 2005; 03:33 a.m.

"So, for the current quality of HDTV being about 2mp, I guess for future shooting I could get away with just a 2-4mp camera (but high quality in terms of lack of noise etc.) ??"

No, I wouldn't suggest that. Instead, capture and archive the image at the highest resolution possible, whether scanning film or shooting digital.

Here's an example. A 8x10 print from any recent vintage consumer photo inkjet will do greater than 7mp (i.e., at ~300dpi.) A 35mm film frame you scan to 2mp may look fine on a HDTV, but will be fuzzy when printed at 8x10. Had you scanned the same exposure at say 4000dpi, the HDTV image will be fine, and also be razor sharp when printed at 8x10.

If you still have slide projection equipment, try another experiment. Scan a good quality slide and display it on a HDTV. Project the same slide to similar dimensions as the HDTV. I think you'll be surprised at just how un-highdef the television is.

Photo Color , Jun 13, 2005; 11:55 p.m.

Today I took some tests shots with a friend's just acquired 7MP digicam at highest resolution (Canon SD500), and the same shots with an Olympus Stylus 35mm P&S on Astia 100F. Viewing the slides with anything more powerful than a 4x loupe (like 7x - 20x), there is much more detail in the slide apparent than the digital file (jpg full res for the camera as shown on a computer monitor). I guess most people familiar with digital will say... 'duh!:-), but to see it for myself makes it really register. Now, I don't know how much better a Canon 20D would do than the digicam, but my plans to buy a digicam have just gone on indefinite hold.

I contacted the suggested scanning company digmypics.com, and they recommended 2000 dpi scans, unless the trannies were pro quality on pro film, where 4000dpi might be ok, due to grain and grundge showing up on lesser quality film shots. They thought 3000 dpi would be better compromise for where a person has a variety of films in their collection. I don't know what type of equipment they use. Now I have to decide if I want the scans saved to TIFF or JPG..

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